Gary Ablett has been ruled out of the Gold Coast Suns' opening NAB Challenge clash, having withdrawn from Saturday's intra-club match at Carrara because of a foot injury.
Suns coach Rodney Eade said Ablett could have played on Saturday but the club took a cautious approach.
Eade said Ablett had "a mild foot strain which is a little bit grumbly at the moment". Ablett, who has trained strongly over summer and says his reconstructed shoulder is strong once again, is expected to resume running late next week.
The Suns open their NAB Challenge against Brisbane on Sunday. Their second pre-season clash is against the West Coast Eagles in Joondalup, with Ablett unlikely to make that trip.
This would leave the champion onballer with only the clash against the Adelaide Crows at Metricon Stadium on March 11 to warm-up for the season proper.
Ablett managed only six matches last season because of shoulder and knee problems in what was the most frustrating year of his career.
Emerging midfielder Jack Martin and best and fairest Tom Lynch were also rested from the intra-club clash, while Jaeger O'Meara, off contract this year, continues his comeback from knee surgery.
St Kilda midfielder David Armitage will miss the Saints' opening NAB Challenge clash against North Melbourne on Saturday with a back problem.
Armitage did not play in the Saints' intra-club clash on Friday, and has spent time training away from the main group. He hopes to return for the Saints' second-round challenge match against Brisbane.
Defender Dylan Roberton has also been ruled out of the clash against the Kangaroos, having rolled his ankle on Friday.
Saints football performance boss Jamie Cox said on Saturday that Roberton was expected to be available to face the Lions.
The Saints were impressed with the form of second-year forward Paddy McCartin, who booted two goals and worked well alongside Josh Bruce.
McCartin was given only six senior matches in his rookie season but the key forward has worked diligently over summer.
"Paddy's second year in now, he's managing himself better, he's more professional in his approach, so it's a combination of everything," assistant coach Rohan Welsh said.
"The positive signs were in his positioning and getting to the ball, which is all we want at this time of year."
Scans have cleared Fremantle midfielder Lachie Neale of a serious left knee injury, after he was carried from the field due to a clash of knees during match simulation on Friday.